Jennifer Frank earns College of Education's Outstanding Junior Researcher Award

Jennifer Frank Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education is publishing brief profiles of faculty, staff and students who would have been honored at the annual spring appreciation and awards luncheon. 

Faculty, staff and students who have made significant contributions to their fields were selected through nomination letters prompted by their outstanding service and dedication to their job. 

Today’s featured award winner is Jennifer Frank, who earned the college’s Outstanding Junior Researcher Award.

The Outstanding Junior Researcher Award typically recognizes the significance of a particular contribution to the research literature, and Frank’s research on universal systems focuses on the study of positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) and is one of the most widespread universal schoolwide frameworks for identifying and responding to students at risk for behavioral maladjustment or academic failure.

Frank is an assistant professor of education (special education) and is a junior faculty member with joint appointments in the school psychology and special education programs within the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education.

Frank also is well on her way to becoming a nationally recognized expert on the topic of mindfulness-based strategies in school settings.

“Dr. Frank is an exceptional scholar, educator and colleague,” said Cristin Hall, assistant professor of education (school psychology). “Not only is her output impressive, but it is actively used by other investigators and practitioners in the field to solve real-world problems. And where Dr. Frank stands apart from similarly talented early career scholars is her collaborative spirit and willingness to help both colleagues and students alike.”

Barbara Schaefer, associate professor of education, said Frank’s academic impact encompasses a variety of areas.

“Given Dr. Frank’s substantial record of successful research projects and her current research interests in school-based prevention, PBIS, social emotional learning, mindfulness-based interventions and applying innovative statistical and experimental methods to validate evidence-based interventions, I anticipate that she will continue to have a positive impact in these interdisciplinary fields for years to come,” Schaefer said.

“We are fortunate to have her as a member of the school psychology program faculty, and her collegiality and insights are highly valued. Her ability to integrate graduate students into her research teams is a rich opportunity for our students, and her teaching also demonstrates her willingness to share her research expertise at all levels,” Schaefer added.

Mary Catherine Scheeler, professor-in-charge of the Special Education Program, shared similar sentiments.

“Dr. Frank navigates the different roles she plays in each program with grace and collegiality. Her desire to improve the quality of life for students and teachers is commendable,” Scheeler said.

“Although we share her with other programs, she is an important and valued faculty member in the Special Education Program and we continually learn from her and her work.”

Award winners are:

  • Outstanding Junior Researcher Award: Jennifer Frank
  • Outstanding Teaching Award: Uju Anya
  • Outstanding Senior Researcher Award: Gerald LeTendre
  • Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: Ashley Patterson
  • Career Achievement Award: Simon Hooper
  • Climate Enhancement Award: JT Taylor
  • Outstanding Staff Award: Megan Foster and Darlene Kolesar
  • Graduate Student Recognition Award: Kaela Fuentes-Packnick
  • Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Taylor Young
Last Updated April 22, 2020